On Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 28, county and local officials gather for the announcement of the first ever Williamson County Fair and Rodeo, scheduled for Oct. 22-24 at the Williamson County Expo Center in Taylor.
"I've lived in Williamson County for 45 years, and there is no known record of having a Williamson County Fair supported by Williamson County, so this is pretty exciting for me," said Williamson County Commissioner Pct. 4 Russ Boles.
Boles said the Commissioner's Court gave a lot of support to make the project possible.
Scott Heselmeyer, president of the Williamson County Fair and Rodeo Association Executive Board, said the county has never had a facility that could support a rodeo and fair.
"What we have never had was one central event where a family can come enjoy a rodeo, a carnival, a county fair type atmosphere, an experience with livestock and really celebrate our agricultural heritage in one place," Heselmeyer said.
He noted the current construction at the Expo Center, which includes a livestock barn and additional concession and restroom areas.
"We can now see history come to reality," he said. "Now that we have these facilities, we have the ability to have this event."
Former mayor of Taylor Jesse Ancira serves as the secretary for the Fair and Rodeo Association Executive Board and said this event will be positive for Taylor and Williamson County.
"This shines a spotlight on the county facility we have in Taylor," he said. "It will shine a spotlight for visitors that are coming through here to see our community, see our people and see that we can put on a first-rate show."
Ancira has a history of hosting events locally and was excited to join the board.
"I saw this as a win-win," he said. "I don't have a lot of experience in rodeos and fairs, but I look at how we market Taylor. How do we promote what's happening in Taylor? To me, this is a positive way to do that."
The three-day event will include a rodeo, carnival, live music and more.
"Live music is a very big part of Williamson County and it's going to be a big part of the fair and rodeo," Heselmeyer said.
The complete music line up is still to be determined, however, Tracy Byrd is scheduled to take the stage Oct. 24 for the event. Byrd is a country music artist signed to MCA Nashville Records. Byrd broke onto the country music scene in 1993 with his single "Holdin' Heaven," which reached number one on the Billboard charts.
The rodeo will be a Cowboy's Professional Rodeo Association and a United Professional Rodeo Association sanctioned event. It will be a traditional eight-event rodeo and will include:
• Bareback riding,
• Steer wrestling,
• Saddle bronc riding,
• Tie-down calf roping,
• Ladies breakaway roping,
• Team roping,
• Ladies barrel racing,
• Bull riding
There will also be special events such as kids' mutton bustin', a kids' calf scramble and a drill team on horseback.
The carnival will have rides, pig races, a petting zoo and a meet the mustang tent. There will also be games such as cornhole, washers, nostalgic games and more.
The event will also feature vendors, a farmer's market and a wine and beer garden.
"Even for those not familiar with fairs and rodeos, I think there will be a lot of family events and good music," Ancira said. "There will be something for everybody."
In addition to the fair and rodeo, Heselmeyer said there will also be a livestock show element.
"We are going to have a livestock show that is open to FFA exhibitors from throughout the state," he explained.
He said the livestock show is not about the flashy awards and prize money, but to develop important life skills not acquired in a classroom.
"We are excited about this being a countywide event to celebrate Williamson County," Heselmeyer said.
Williamson County Fair and Rodeo Association Executive Board
• Scott Heselmeyer - President
• Judge Dan Gattis - 1st Vice President
• Nathan Winstead - Treasurer
• Jesse Ancira - Secretary
• Patti Colbert - Vice President
• Kelley Hammeren - Vice President
• Julie Sharifian - Vice President
• Tanya Claswon - Vice President
• Clint Chitsey - Executive Director